It was with sadness to hear this morning that renowned Wellington architect, Sir Ian Athfield (affectionately known as 'Ath') has passed away. He was 74 and recently knighted in the New Years Honours for his work in architecture. Over the last 40 years his architecture firm, Athfield Architects has re-shaped Wellington and other parts of New Zealand.
The Wellington City Library, the Civic Square development, Chews Lane and the recent redevelopment of the former Overseas Passenger Terminal, now called Clyde Quay, are just a few of the significant projects that have made their mark on Wellington.
My experience with Ath is sitting with him having lunches at his Khandallah home when I worked with his wife, interior designer Clare Athfield, not long after I graduated from design school. He was down to earth and entertaining. While being such an important figure in our industry, he never took himself seriously and always had a twinkle in his eye.
His controversial home and office in Khandallah, a white plastered, Mediterranean style village studded with turrets and circular windows was declared by Ath as one of his most important works. The building is also especially significant to me and my siblings as it was here at a party that my parents met each other and went on to get married three months later.
RIP Ath - a huge loss for New Zealand and the Wellington architectural community.